Missouri woman accused of fatally shooting cousin waives preliminary hearing
A Missouri woman waived her right to a preliminary hearing on reduced charges of third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of her cousin in Upper St. Clair when she appeared Friday in Pittsburgh Municipal Court.
Allegheny County police initially charged Stephanie Munizza, 28, of Maryland Heights, a St. Louis suburb, with homicide in the death of Joshua Poremski, 27, of Upper St. Clair on Nov. 1. Waiving her right to a hearing means her case will proceed to trial.
“She’s devastated,” defense attorney David J. Shrager said. “I can’t even begin to think the thoughts going through her head or the pain she’s going through. It’s clear to any person who is in her company for more than a few seconds that she’s devastated. I think that’s a pain she’s going to be experiencing for the rest of her life.”
Munizza appeared in court from the Allegheny County Jail. Shrager said she left the jail about 2:30 p.m.
“She’ll be residing with the mother and father of the victim in this case,” Shrager said. “That is love and that is compassion.”
Shrager said Munizza, who was visiting family, talked to Poremski about having a gun for protection while she walked to and from work. Shrager said Munizza never handled a firearm before, but Poremski gave one to her and assured her it was not loaded.
Munizza pointed the gun and fired, hitting Poremski in the head, he said.
The police complaint said Munizza and Poremski were drinking beer and shots of whiskey the night of the incident.
“It’s my position that there was no crime committed,” Shrager said. “This was simply an accident.”
Margaret Harding is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8519 or [email protected].